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MACtion Time - 2018 Big Ten Versus MAC Preview

Will there be any MACtion in 2018? This ‘writer’ takes a look at the match-ups.


With the 2018 Off Tackle Empire team previews underway, I thought it would be a good time to talk about the Big Ten’s non-conference games versus the Mid-American Conference. During the first five weeks of the 2018 football season there will be a dozen non-conference games against MAC teams; including an ACC a Big Ten team playing a road game (Maryland at Bowling Green). Twelve of the fourteen Big Ten teams will play the MAC; with Ohio State and Wisconsin passing (I guess Barry Alvarez thought playing a MAC team would be too taxing for the Badgers’ non-conference schedule).

So on that note, here’s a week-by-week look at the B1G versus the MAC.

  • Week 1: Kent State at Illinois, Northern Illinois at Iowa, Akron at Nebraska.

Lovie Smith appears to have a good opportunity to start 1-0 as Lou Holtz’s alma mater is coming off a 2-10 season for 2017. The other 2 week 1 games might be worth keeping an eye on. The Scott Frost era begins against an Akron team that went 7-7 last season; despite playing Penn State 13 times. And Northern Illinois seems to be able to give a power conference team a scare on (semi-) regular occasion.

Best Chance for MACtion: Akron at Nebraska. There’s always a chance that a team will mail it in during a head coach’s debut (just ask Tom Herman how last season’s Maryland game turned out). It wouldn’t be a total shock for this one to be close into the fourth quarter.

  • Week 2: Maryland at Bowling Green, Western Michigan at Michigan, Eastern Michigan at Purdue.

Barring something going very wrong, the 2 Directional Michigan games should be over at halftime; even though Eastern Michigan is playing Purdue. On paper, the same should be true with Maryland’s trip to Bowling Green. But this is a road game, and it will be a very different environment versus the game being in College Park.

Best Chance for MACtion: Maryland at Bowling Green. Hosting a Power 5 opponent will make this the Falcons’ game of the season. Even though it’s a slim chance for Bowling Green, it’s a better opportunity than the other week 2 games.

  • Week 3: Ball State at Indiana, Kent State at Penn State, Miami (OH) at Minnesota, Akron at Northwestern.

There’s four MAC games scheduled this week, including both Kent State and Akron playing their second Big Ten opponents. Going strictly by the records, this may look like a clean sweep for the Big Ten. David Letterman’s alma mater is coming off a 2-10 season. Miami Hydroxide finished under .500 at 5-7 for 2017. Akron and Kent State are playing 2 of the top Big Ten teams heading into the 2018 season. One would think this is the case, but...

Best Chance for MACtion: Akron at Northwestern. Each season the Purple Cats seem to cough up a hairball (such as last season’s trip to Durham), and the Akron game seems like the perfect trap game. Especially considering that following this game, Northwestern has a bye week in anticipation of Michigan’s return to the shores of Lake Michigan to re-live the 2014 M00N game.

  • Week 4: Buffalo at Rutgers.

Memo to Rutgers. Do. Not. Lose. This. Game!!!

Best Chance for MACtion: (is also the worst chance for MACtion as only 1 MAC game is on the schedule).

  • Week 5: Central Michigan at Michigan State.

Unless Michigan State is a complete tire-fire for 2018 given all of the off-the-field goings on, this game should be over by halftime.

Best Chance for MACtion: (is also the worst chance for MACtion as only 1 MAC game is on the schedule).

Here’s how I envision the 2018 Big Ten versus MAC games playing out. And remember, MACtion is Magic!



Which MAC team has the best chance for MACtion by getting a win against the Big Ten?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Kent State (at Illinois, at Penn State)
    (28 votes)
  • 12%
    Akron (at Nebraska, at Northwestern)
    (34 votes)
  • 17%
    Northern Illinois (at Iowa)
    (50 votes)
  • 4%
    Western Michigan (at Michigan)
    (13 votes)
  • 3%
    Eastern Michigan (at Purdue)
    (9 votes)
  • 8%
    Ball State (at Indiana)
    (23 votes)
  • 7%
    Miami Hydroxide (at Minnesota)
    (22 votes)
  • 23%
    Buffalo (at Rutgers)
    (66 votes)
  • 2%
    Central Michigan (at Michigan State)
    (6 votes)
  • 10%
    Bowling Green’s not an option, as they’re hosting an ACC team on September 8
    (30 votes)
281 votes total Vote Now